Expert panel: What’s best practice for disability access at universities?

Is UK HE becoming more accessible to students with disabilities? And if so, is it happening fast enough? Steve Wright asks the experts in the last in our series

The panel

Professor Val Williams: Emeritus professor, Norah Fry Centre for Disabled Studies, University of Bristol

Nicole Reid: Higher education manager, Texthelp

Q. Can you point to any instances of best practice in this field/any universities?

Nicole Reid: Many universities are leading the way when it comes to accessibility. De Montfort University has embraced UDL across the entire university, delivering an individual learning experience that works for both students and staff. Another example is University College Dublin, which follows a university-for-all approach, weaving the business of inclusion into the fabric of the entire institution. They’ve even developed a toolkit for inclusive higher education which can be used by any institution to enable them to build inclusion from concept to meaningful practice and really transform the student experience.

Val Williams: We have already seen progress made by some elements of universal technology. For instance, here at the University of Bristol, the routine recording of lectures has made it possible for all students, not just disabled students, to benefit by reviewing a particular lecture. New buildings and development at Bristol, as elsewhere, also provide a fantastic opportunity to create a more welcoming environment for disabled people, who need to be at the heart of forward planning.

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